Tuesday, December 15, 2009

PSAs (Politician-Serving Announcements)

I'm not going to recreate the wheel, as Mary Beth Schneider of the Indianapolis Star covered the issue of politicians using public service announcements for self-aggrandizement very well already.

But State Treasurer Richard Mourdock's new ad promoting the state's College Choice 529 savings plan is so over-the-top, I can't help kicking the tire a bit.

The ad starts with Mourdock in a red sweater sitting in front of a fireplace with stockings, no doubt hung by the chimney with care, and..oh, guess what? They actually show Mourdock hanging one himself. How festive!

Wedged between some text fade-ins that reminded me of the last time my contact slipped into the corner of my eye and then popped back folded over, Mourdock's ad centers on a blond toddler with the cute red bow in her hair as she sits on grandma's lap and a family exchanges gifts in the background. How adorable!

Mourdock will defend himself by contending critics are opposed to the substance of the ad. No, we're not. We just realize that too many politicans (some in my own party, I might add) see the substance as secondary to increasing their own visibility.

Here's how you know I'm right.

Take Richard Mourdock completely out of the ad, and put in any other human being, and unless you're Richard Mourdock, you'll see that nothing is lost. In fact, we might reduce the "creeped out by the overly bushy eyebrows" factor measurably. You could even use the Keller & Keller guy: "Tell your kids you..mean..business...about their educations!" Mourdock even gives himself a PR two-fer by referring Hoosiers to www.collegechoiceplan.com which has what in the top right corner? A picture of Richard Mourdock.

Must be nice to have a half million dollars to spend on yourself the year before you run for re-election. How much do you think he'll spend in 2010?

Until we demand he stops, as much as he wants.


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